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Film Review: ‘Prey’ is a Lean and Mean New Predator Encounter


The Predator franchise has only really had one outing that fans can fully get behind, and that’s the original. Everything else, whether it has been straight sequels, reboots, match-ups with another iconic movie monster, or what have you, has at best been met with a mixed reception. So, making the latest film a prequel is certainly an interesting choice, as no one has been yearning for a Predator origin story. So, it’s with great relief to say that not only is Prey a very good movie, it’s the best in the franchise since the original. By getting to the roots of why this property has appeal, the end result is quite thrilling.

Prey is an effective science fiction thriller, buoyed by the knowledge that more is actually less when it comes to this property. Focusing on the one on one aspect of very different warriors is far more effective than raising the stakes with more sci-fi stakes. This flick isn’t re-inventing the wheel here, but it’s exactly what you want out of it. Less is more here, to its benefit.


Set 300 years ago in the world of the Comanche Nation, we meet Naru (Amber Midthunder) as she’s preparing to prove her mettle as a warrior to her tribe. Her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers) is seen as a future leader, while Naru’s gender has her considered as a joke when she plans to go through the traditional rituals necessary to be a hunter. Her first experience doesn’t go well hunting a tiger, but when she sees something fiery in the sky headed towards the ground, she’s determined to hunt that, along with her faithful canine companion. Little does she know that it’s a warrior from another planet, on its first hunt, with big game on its mind.

While the Predator (Dane DiLiegro) goes on its hunt, Naru begins tracking it. A showdown is inevitable, with her brother, as well as some cruel French fur-trappers, caught in the middle. Once the Predator gets going and moves on from animals to humans, does Naru and her tribe stand any chance? Or, will it underestimate her skills, just like everyone else?


The performance by Amber Midthunder is essential to Prey working. Dane DiLiegro is an effective Predator, giving it the movements you’d expect, while Dakota Beavers is solid, Midthunder is the absolute star. Her physical abilities, as well as her emotional determination, really set her apart amongst the cast. Supporting players include Harlan Blayne Kytwayhat, Samuel Marty, and Stefany Mathias, among others.

Director Dan Trachtenberg and writer Patrick Aison know how to do a lean and mean Predator flick. Prey has the feel of a stripped down version of what’s already worked, with stakes and style. Aison mostly has television credits under his belt, but Trachtenberg is someone who folks have long waited to see more from. 10 Cloverfield Lane showed what he could do with a smaller scale thriller, and he’s at it again here. With a short running time and an effective build up to a wonderfully visceral sequence of carnage, Trachtenberg raises the stakes with aplomb. Bonus points for this being a solid dog movie, too, which is always a plus.

Prey should thrill folks who have been waiting patiently for this series to find its footing once again. By taking it back to basics, it’s all about what works in this man vs monster tale. If we’re going to be continuing with this type of prequel/sequel going forward, there’s something to look forward to. As long as the Predator doesn’t wind up around xenomorphs anytime soon, everything should be fine, going by past history…

SCORE: ★★★


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Written by Joey Magidson

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